FORMER Albury mayor Amanda Duncan-Strelec is refusing to comply with a court order directing her to stop publishing a website which contains “highly defamatory” material about the mayor of the Gold Coast.
Tom Tate, who is a former business partner of Ms Duncan-Strelec, successfully sought an injunction in the NSW Supreme Court late last month.
Justice Michael Ball ordered Ms Duncan-Strelec to stop publishing an offensive website that contains “highly defamatory’’ material about the Gold Coast mayor.
The judge said Cr Tate was “a well-known public figure in the Gold Coast community’’ and that the website “is capable of doing irreparable damage’’.
However, Ms Duncan-Strelec, 57, who has failed to turn up to court three times in relation to this matter, has ignored the court’s order.
Ms Duncan-Strelec recently sent an email to Justice Ball’s associate saying she could not come to court because of “lack of funds’’.
“I am a bankrupt, as Mr Tate is well aware as he is the person who succeeded in having me declared bankrupt,’’ she wrote.
“I have repeatedly advised Mr Tate’s solicitors that I am not the author of the Tom Tate website.’’
However, on the website is a letter Ms Duncan-Strelec sent to Cr Tate’s lawyers saying that she would take down the website if Cr Tate paid money to third parties.
“If and when, and only when, your client has followed through with all of the above will I be prepared to take down the website,’’ she said in her letter.
In June last year Ms Duncan-Strelec resigned from Albury Council, citing ill health and financial reasons for her decision.
What she did not say was that a fortnight earlier she had been bankrupted by Cr Tate.
Ms Duncan-Strelec had failed to pay Cr Tate $305,513 in court costs after she and her ex-husband, David Strelec, lost a legal battle against Cr Tate, a property developer.
In 2010, the couple took action in the NSW Supreme Court against Cr Tate, claiming he had breached an alleged joint-venture agreement relating to land they were planning to develop into 120 housing blocks near Albury.
Ms Duncan-Strelec had previously helped Mr Tate in an unsuccessful bid to become Gold Coast mayor in 2000.
Justice Ball heard that Ms Duncan-Strelec has retaliated by setting up the offending website, which the court heard is “obviously designed to expose him to hatred, ridicule and contempt’’.